Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) officially announced on Monday that she would be running for mayor of Los Angeles.
“With my whole heart, I’m ready. Let’s do this — together. I’m running for mayor,” Bass tweeted. She also introduced a campaign website.
According to a poll conducted last month, Bass would be one of the leading candidates in what could be a crowded field of contenders. She was among those that Vice President Joseph Biden considered as his running mate, before ultimately picking Vice President Kamala Harris. Bass has represented a west Los Angeles congressional district since 2011, including communities of Culver City, Rancho Park, Crenshaw and Baldwin Hills, and previously served as speaker in the California state assembly.
Last week, Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de Leon announced his bid for mayor, joining Councilman Joe Buscaino and City Attorney Mike Feuer among declared candidates. Developer Rick Caruso also has expressed interest in the race but has yet to announce.
Speculation of a potential Bass run began to surface last month, and accelerated after Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, a longtime friend, announced that he would not enter the race. Paul Maslin conducted a poll, financed by an undisclosed donor, that showed that Bass was the first choice of 22% of those surveyed, followed by Caruso and de Leon with 6%. Bass also had better favorability ratings than other candidates — 42% favorable to 16% unfavorable. The poll was conducted between July 29 and Aug. 5, and appeared to be a move to try to encourage Bass to enter the race as she weighed whether to run.
Bass also would likely enter the race with solid support in the entertainment business, given that her district includes studios and many of those employed in the industry. In the 2020 recent cycle, Bass collected almost $200,000 in contributions from entertainment sources, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, even though she was not in a competitive race. She had been raising money for a 2022 re-election bid, and has drawn contributions from Jeffrey Katzenberg, Laurene Powell Jobs and Mellody Hobson.
The mayoral primary is on June 7, and the general election is Nov. 8, 2022.
What’s unclear is who the next elected mayor will succeed. The current mayor, Eric Garcetti, was nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to India, but has yet to be confirmed, and a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has not yet been scheduled. His term expires on Dec. 11, 2022.
According to the city charter, the City Council could appoint a person to fill the position through the end of the term. It also could call a special election to fill the vacancy through the end of the term and appoint someone to hold the office temporarily until that special election’s results are certified.
Bass’s congressional seat is considered safe for the Democrats, but the districts are being redrawn as part of the ten-year redistricting process.
On her website, Bass cited homelessness as an emergency for the city. “Today’s homelessness crisis demands urgent attention to root causes, not just surface-level fixes or divisive talking points by politicians,” her campaign stated.
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